Global Health Academy

Global and Planetary Health

An overview of global and planetary health and how the University is contributing to our knowledge and ability to advance health for all and for the planet.

Our Global Health Ambition and Mission

To move to a world where there is no "us and them" – where health for all is recognised as a priority and being enabled locally, nationally and globally.

The interdisciplinary field of Planetary Health highlights that sustaining a healthy planet is essential for achieving individual and community health. The wellbeing of people and the planet are entirely intertwined.

Global health is local health writ large.  

Global Health is the science of understanding how local health – in every country across the world and among every people – is a shared and interconnected common good.

Global Health is both a scientific discipline and a system of change.

It is about better understanding the health and health disparities of people, and it involves working to achieve improved health outcomes for all.

Global Health works on the premise that health is a human right.

Over these last decades, those working in Global Health have witnessed extraordinary successes such as: the reduction of maternal and child mortality; new vaccine science; and the discovery of new techniques to prevent and reduce diseases such as cancer. However, there remains huge and unacceptable differences in health within and between countries, and the COVID-19 pandmeic has pointed to a major crisis in how the world  envisages and works towards health for all.  

Advancing this Agenda

Here at the University of Edinburgh, our Global Health work prioritises health equity, inter-disciplinary derived solutions, and partnerships for local leadership and mentorship. We work with those who are most vulnerable and those living in fragile states.

Increasingly we as an international academic community recognise that Global Health does not capture the full range of relationships we need to consider when protecting health. ‘Planetary Health’ is emerging as a strong, interdisciplinary field that recognises that the health of all living beings is intimately and absolutely connected with the health of the natural world.

Our Planetary Health work at the University draws on multiple disciplines including architecture, engineering, economics and geoscience to tackle diverse social, political, economic, environmental and climate challenges that impact health.

Pivotal to all Global and Planetary Health work are the Sustainable Development Goals – providing an ambitious framework for transforming the world for the better.

If we realize our ambitions across the full extent of the Agenda, the lives of all will be profoundly improved and our world will be transformed for the better.

Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 


Global and Planetary Health at the University of Edinburgh

Person wearing medical gloves holding a globe
The different ways in which the Global Health Academy is leading and supporting work to advance Global and Planetary Health.

Planetary Health in more detail

Image of water, land, a road and a field
An overview of planetary health and how the field is pursing interdisciplinary approaches to ensure human and planetary survival.